TONY Saunders has heard it way too many times.
‘I thought I was right to drive’ is the first line of defence for most drivers who face a random breath test knowing they are walking the 0.05 tightrope.
Acting Sergeant Saunders (pictured left), says it’s also known as the ‘four-beer mentality’ and Coffs Coast drivers are notorious for it. At the end of a 72-hour blitz in which Coffs Clarence highway patrol officers nabbed yet more drink drivers, the four-beer mentality was a costly miscalculation for 18 more locals.
As the region with the worst record for drink-driving in NSW, Acting. Sgt. Saunders says way too many people here assume their alcohol tolerance is greater than what it is and then find out the hard way when they’re staring down a breathalyser.
“The most common type of driver we book are people who thought they were right after three or four drinks and end up returning low to mid-range readings,” he said.
“Most of the people we catch are pulled over close to their homes. Plenty of them tell us they have three to four beers at pubs and clubs every week and drive home.
“We know this because we analyse our arrests, we know roughly what times to police back roads from licensed premises and we are recording one of the best drink driving success rates in the State from our perspective.”
In the recent blitz from Wednesday to Saturday, police breath-tested 1169 motorists and 18 were over the limit. Twenty-one people were caught for traffic matters including licence offences.
Speeding offences were also prevalent with 15 fines issued, eight people were caught not wearing seatbelts, and 33 other traffic infringements were issued.
Three major campaigns are set to run through to Easter.